Pa. lawmaker proposes change to statewide court elections

HARRISBURG, Pa. (WHTM) – A Pennsylvania lawmaker wants to change the way judges are elected to the state’s highest courts.

Rep. Russ Diamond (R-Lebanon) said his measure, House Bill 2210, proposes a constitutional amendment that would establish regional districts for the Commonwealth, Superior, and Supreme courts.

Instead of statewide races, judges and justices would be elected from the smaller districts. Diamond’s plan would create nine Commonwealth Court districts, 15 Superior Court districts, and seven Supreme Court districts.

Diamond said his bill would counter efforts to do away with court elections and appoint judges and justices through a merit selection system.

“My legislation would preserve the right of the people to select their judges and justices; it would maintain public scrutiny by keeping judicial candidates within Pennsylvania’s campaign finance reporting system; and it would guarantee that the diversity of the Commonwealth and its various regions would be more accurately reflected in the appellate court composition and verdicts,” Diamond said in a statement.

Amendments to the state constitution must be approved by two sessions of the General Assembly and ratified by voters through a ballot referendum.

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